The Dangers of Burnout December 1st, 2013
Since the 2008 recession, many companies have reorganized to ensure maximum efficiency with a minimum of positions. Between the strain of tough economic times and the extra demands at work, many professionals today risk burnout. ‘Burnout’ is the colloquial term for a kind of pervasive, chronic exhaustion and apathy that is born of overwork but spreads to every aspect of life.
Burnout starts as too much stress, and the same steps to mitigate stress can prevent burnout. In any given day there seem to be hundreds of causes of stress, yet one of the major causes of stress is lack of control. Shipping delays, lengthy bureaucratic processes, scheduling errors, consumer behavior, the stock market, the weather, and other erratic forces beyond anyone’s control that yet may impact productivity can be a huge source of stress. The trick is to ‘make peace’ with what you can’t control and regiment what you can control. If you exercise discipline and due diligence over what you can control, you’ll be better able to ‘roll with the punches.’
Overstressed and burnout overlap but burnout is more severe. You may be moving beyond overstressed into burnout if:
Burnout is not permanent, nor is it unavoidable. Here are some methods to reverse or repair burnout.
Community, friends and family. Some people with burnout or developing burnout feel overwhelmed or under stimulated, ineffectual and unappreciated partly because of loneliness or isolation. Reach out to your peers at work and make the time to socialize with friends and family after work.
Therapy. Sometimes we all need a chance to speak at someone who cannot judge us. Many of us have difficulty sharing our challenges with those active in our lives because their opinions matter, and many fear rejection or negative consequences. A therapist is bound to confidentiality in most circumstances and may even give good advice.
Prioritize and say no. Many people on the verge of burnout simply have too many things on their plates. The best way to shake off extra obligations and prevent new ones is to say no. Saying no is very difficult for many people, and yet learning to say no gracefully is necessary to safeguard your time without insulting others.
Schedule fun. There’s only 24 hours in a day and it’s easy to get distracted and goal-diffused. Take time to schedule one or two hours a day for a hobby or fun activity. Not only will you get to do an activity that you enjoy, but you’ll feel a greater sense of control over your life.
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